Skip to content

Posts from the Foothill Extension Category

No Comments

#DamienTalks SGV2: Albert Ho on IWillRide and Wes Reutimann on the Puente Hills Landfill Park

puente

A view from the future Puente Hills Landfill Park.

This week, #DamienTalks with Albert Ho of the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. Albert has been a booster of the project dating back to the mid aughts, helping to found the IWillRide campaign as an interested college student, managing the website early in his career and then working for the Construction Authority.

Albert talks about his experiences advocating for the project, touches on some of the highlights of the line extension, scheduled to open on March 5. Towards the end, we reminisce about our days of yore, sitting in the back of Metro Board meetings together, trying to come up with the wittiest tweet about the meeting.

Next, #DamienTalks with Wes Reutimann, the executive director of Bike SGV. Reutimann discusses the upcoming scoping meeting for the Puente Hills Landfill Park. The park promises to be one of the largest tracts of open space on the Southland. There will be an environmental scoping meeting this Wednesday, January 27 (for more information on the hearing and the park click here.)

Bike SGV is hoping that there we be a safe network of bicycle lanes leading to the park and a network of bike facilities within the park to create the largest bike park in California. If you can’t make the scoping meeting, click here to read and sign Bike SGV’s petition.

If, like me, you are unfamiliar with what a bike park is, here are examples in Marin County and Fresno County.

We’re always looking for sponsors, show ideas, and feedback. You can contact me at damien@streetsblog.org, at twitter @damientypes, online at Streetsblog California or on Facebook at StreetsblogCA.

Thanks for listening. You can download the episode at the #DamienTalks homepage on Libsyn.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of Downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

11 Comments

Irritating Double Standards In Azusa Gold Line Station Delay Request

caption

Will the Azusa Pacific University/Citrus College Gold Line Station open in March? photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Yesterday, Streetsie-nominee Steve Scauzillo broke the news at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune: the city of Azusa, Azusa Pacific University (APU), and Azusa developer Rosedale Land Partners have written to Metro to delay the opening of the APU/Citrus College Station. The APU station is the farthest east of six new Metro Gold Line rail stations set to open on Saturday March 5.

The APU station is finished, but the road to the parking lot is not. Site plan from Gold Line Construction Authority

The APU station is finished, but work extending Citrus Avenue to the station parking lot is not. Site plan from Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

According to the Tribune, the Azusa interests are concerned that opening the APU station “will cause traffic jams and unsafe pedestrian crossings.” What’s causing this problem? The delay is due to construction not being complete on a road that leads to the station parking structure. And why is the parking structure road delayed? Because, according to the Tribune, the cities of Azusa and Glendora, and the developer Rosedale Land Partners “could not agree on the road’s alignment.” Those are, of course, the same folks now requesting the delay.

My first thoughts reading this news is that there is an irritating double standard going on here.

When Caltrans builds a freeway, they use all kinds of biased, flawed metrics – including Level of Service – to show that opening the freeway will reduce congestion, not only on the freeway itself but also on nearby surface streets. Freeway projects are also promoted as improving safety and reducing air pollution. The truth is, of course, that freeways worsen congestion, safety, and the environment. When communities fight freeways on their actual ill effects, government bureaucracies ignore the truth and just keep building and widening them.

Transit investments are the opposite. Rail travel is orders of magnitude safer than car travel. It is also dramatically better for air quality. In reality, despite rosy promises, new rail lines will not solve congestion issues, but do not make them worse.

Reading the Tribune, it seems to me that Azusa leaders are blaming rail for problems that it does not create.

Also, the way I see it, delaying the Gold Line station opening is likely to make things less safe for some people. If some future riders, perhaps college students, drive instead of riding the train, then they will be less safe. If a rider would would have taken a (statistically very safe) train trip and replaced it with a (statistically much less safe) car trip, then delaying the station opening makes things less safe.

My second thoughts were more encouraging. Read more…

20 Comments

Foothill Gold Line Extension To Open March 5, 2016

The 12-mile Foothill Gold Line Extension will open March 5, 2016. Image via Metro

The 12-mile Foothill Gold Line Extension will open March 5, 2016. Image via Metro

Today, Metro CEO Phil Washington announced the opening date for the initial 12-mile extension of the Foothill Gold Line. The new Gold Line extension is set to open on March 5, 2016.

The line was built by the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. When it was substantially complete in September, it was turned over to Metro for testing. The Gold Line extension includes 12 miles of track, new maintenance yards, 1,525 parking spaces, and six new stations: Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, Azusa Downtown, and Azusa Pacific University/Citrus College. Metro estimates anticipate 13,600 new daily riders.

Additional phases are anticipated to extend the line east from Azusa to Monclair and then further into San Bernardino County, though these are not yet funded.

A shortage of rail cars means that initial operations will feature less than optimal headways. Trains will operate every 12 minutes, with more frequent service likely starting in late 2016.

The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority recently celebrated station dedications. For a tour of the then-under-construction Gold Line Extension, see the 2014 SBLA series of articles on the rail line, transit-adjacent developmentbridges, and maintenance yards.

13 Comments

Azusa Dedicates Two New Gold Line Stations, Service Expected 2016

Metro CEO Phil Washington speaking at the Azusa stations dedication last Satursday. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro CEO Phil Washington speaking at the standing-room only Azusa Downtown Station and APU/Citrus College Station dedication ceremonies last Satursday. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Over a thousand people turned out in the September heat to attend last Saturday’s dedication celebration for two new Foothill Gold Line extension stations: Downtown Azusa and Azusa Pacific University/Citrus College. Though actual train service is anticipated to start in 2016, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority has been celebrating concluding station and rail line construction, as many speakers repeated, “on time and on budget.” The new extension extends 11.5 miles from Pasadena to Azusa.

Federal, county, and municpal elected officials pledged to work together to continue to extend the Gold Line. Proponents want to extend the line to Montclair, and further to Ontario Airport.

Metro CEO Phil Washington gave some indication of the anticipated schedule for the line opening, stating that Metro will take control of the facilities this Wednesday, September 23, and will then begin extensive testing. Washington anticipated that roughly 30 days later, Metro will announce the opening date for the Foothill Gold Line Extension. Barring any unforeseen construction issues that may become apparent during testing, the opening is anticipated to be Spring, 2016. There are still a lot of moving pieces, but both the new Gold Line and Expo Line extensions potentially face somewhat infrequent (12-minute headways) initial service due to a short supply of light rail cars, with more frequent service likely commencing in late 2016, as new cars become available.

caption

Among the ways to keep cool were these “Next Stop Azusa” fans.

Read more…

2 Comments

Eyes on the Street, er, Rails: Foothill Gold Line Extension Tracks Complete

Metro Gold Line

Celebrating the final e-clip on the Metro Foothill Gold Line Extension tracks. Left to right: Doug Tessitor (Glendora), Sam Pedroza (Claremont), John Fasana (Duarte and Metro), Elias Avila (Gold Line construction crew), Habib Balian (Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority), and Andy Peplow (Kiewit Infrastructure.) Photo via The Source

Last Saturday, Foothill communities celebrated a Track Completion Ceremony for the initial phase of the Foothill Gold Line extension. Local leaders installed the final “e-clip” which attached the rail tracks to the rail ties. Streetsblog didn’t actually make it out to Azusa for the event; find coverage at ABC, CBSThe Source, and Railway Age.

The new 11.5-mile Foothill Gold Line extension is now less than a year away from its grand opening completion of construction, expected to take place in late September 2015. The opening will coincide with a cross-San Gabriel Valley multi-city “Golden Streets” open streets event similar to CicLAvia. Additional Gold Line extensions eastward to Ontario Airport are anticipated, but not yet funded or scheduled. To tour the new light rail line virtually, see SBLA’s recent 4-part Foothill Gold Line photo essay: the overall route, the bridges, the large-scale rail maintenance yard, and accompanying Transit-Oriented Development.

The Foothill Gold Line will extend from Pasadena to Azusa, with six new stations slated to open in September 2015. Image via Metro

The Foothill Gold Line will extend from Pasadena to Azusa, with six new stations slated to open soon after construction is complete in September 2015. Image via Metro

22 Comments

Gold Line Foothill Extension Photo Tour: Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

In this fourth installment of the Foothill Gold Line Extension photo tour series, we explore planned Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) around some of the line’s future stations.

Recently, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Aviv Kleinman joined a behind-the-scenes tour of the newest Gold Line Extension phase under construction in the San Gabriel Valley. We joined Albert Ho, head of Media Relations for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, and Jeff Rowland, the Community Relations Manager for the Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture, the contractors building the project. Part 1 of the series documented the rail corridor and stationsPart 2 highlighted the maintenance yard under construction in Monrovia. Part 3 looked at the new bridges.

For those just joining us, the Gold Line is a 19.7 mile light rail line running from East Los Angeles to Pasadena via Union Station in Downtown L.A. The line currently serves 21 stations, and is operated by Metro. The Gold Line Foothill Extension will extend from its current Sierra Madre Villa terminus east into the city of Azusa. The 11.3-mile new extension includes 6 new stations. The extension will serve five cities directly, and it is proposed to transform the San Gabriel Valley entirely. Once bounded by distress of being caught in freeway gridlock, San Gabriel Valley residents will now have the freedom to commute by rail into Downtown L.A. and endless locations from there by using the new Gold Line extension.

TODs are generally station-adjacent mixed-use areas. They often feature relatively dense housing so that residents can easily and safely walk to the nearby station. TODs frequently include apartment complexes, retail centers, and parks, which make for a rich mix of destinations around transit hubs. Find more about L.A. County Transit Oriented Development in this earlier SBLA series.

Monrovia Station Square is a great example of Transit Oriented Development.

about_monrovia_station_square_img

The city of Monrovia is converting an abandoned railroad station into Monrovia Station Square: a new transit-oriented retail development. Photo: City of Monrovia

The Monrovia Station Square is a large-scale improvement project underway, hosted by the City of Monrovia. The city plans to re-vamp the area immediately surrounding the Monrovia Gold Line station currently under construction. The Station Square intends to transform a largely-forgotten commercial/industrial neighborhood into a thriving and bustling town square. The development will adaptively re-use Monrovia’s now-abandoned Santa Fe Railway station, transforming it into a new retail establishment. The city official we spoke with hopes it will become an artisan pizza shop. The current pothole-ridden park-and-ride lot will become a park, filled with green space, playgrounds, water features, and public art.

IMG_2315

The abandoned Santa Fe Railway depot will soon become a trendy retail space in the proposed Monrovia Station Square. All photos Aviv Kleinman/Streetsblog L.A., except where otherwise specified.

IMG_2300

Built in 1926, the Monrovia Depot used to be a bustling transit station. Hopefully soon, the future Gold Line station just a few hundred feet west of it will be just as bustling.

Read more…

15 Comments

Gold Line Foothill Extension Photo Tour: Iconic Gold Line Freeway Bridge

GLB_019_-_Completed_Bridge_12-10-12

The recently completed Gold Line Bridge over the 210 Freeway. Photo: Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

In this third installment of our Foothill Gold Line photo tour series, we explore the Gold Line Foothill Extension’s iconic bridge over the 210 Freeway, as well as a closer look at the line’s other bridges.

Recently, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Aviv Kleinman joined a behind-the-scenes tour of the Gold Line Phase II under construction in the San Gabriel Valley. We joined Albert Ho, head of Media Relations for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, and Jeff Rowland, the Community Relations Manager for the Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture, the contractors building the project. Part 1 of the series documented the rail corridor and stationsPart 2 highlighted the Maintenance and Operations yard under construction in Monrovia.

For those just joining us, the Gold Line is a 19.7 mile light rail line running from East Los Angeles to Pasadena via Union Station in Downtown L.A. The line currently serves 21 stations, and is operated by Metro. The Gold Line Foothill Extension will extend from its current Sierra Madre Villa terminus east into the city of Azusa. The new 11.3-mile extension includes 6 new stations, serving five cities directly. It is proposed to transform the San Gabriel Valley entirely. Once bounded by distress of being caught in freeway gridlock, San Gabriel Valley residents will now have the freedom to commute by rail into Downtown L.A., and endless locations from there, by using the new Gold Line extension.

IMG_2276

The bridge spans 584-linear-feet diagonally across the Eastbound 210 Freeway. Notice the bumper-to-bumper traffic heading westbound on the freeway. I predict that one of the most effective marketing tools for increasing Gold Line ridership will be the simple frustration drivers feel when they are stuck on the freeway while watching the sleek new trains travelling at 55 mph towards Downtown LA. All photos, except where noted: Aviv Kleinman/Streetsblog L.A.

The Gold Line bridge, completed in 2012, was built to replace the previous flyover bridge used by the Santa Fe railroad to cross over the eastbound lanes of the 210 freeway. The Gold Line tracks run 4.1 miles along the median of the 210 before crossing the bridge into the city of Arcadia, heading southeast towards the downtown Arcadia station.  Read more…

22 Comments

Gold Line Foothill Extension Photo Tour: The Maintenance Yard

IMG_2249

The Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Yard will be able to store 84 cars when it is completed. The M&O site will be complete with a train car wash, a train car storage yard, 188 employee parking stalls, and a covered maintenance-of-way facility.

In this photo essay, we will explore the Foothill Gold Line’s magnificent Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Facility, currently under construction in Monrovia.

Earlier this week, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton and Aviv Kleinman joined a behind-the-scenes tour of the Gold Line Phase II under construction in the San Gabriel Valley. We joined Albert Ho, head of Media Relations for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, and Jeff Rowland, the Community Relations Manager for the  Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture, the constructors of the project. Part 1 of the series documented the rail corridor and stations.

For those just joining us, the Gold Line is a 19.7 mile light rail line running from East Los Angeles to Pasadena via Union Station in Downtown L.A. The line currently serves 21 stations, and is operated by Metro. The Gold Line Foothill Extension will extend from its current terminus, in East Pasadena at Sierra Madre Villa, to Azusa. The 11.3-mile new extension includes 6 new stations. The extension will serve five cities directly, and it is proposed to transform the San Gabriel Valley entirely. Once bounded by distress of being caught in freeway gridlock, San Gabriel Valley residents will now have the freedom to commute by rail into Downtown L.A. and endless locations from there by using the new Gold Line extension.

M&O Campus

M&O Facility Site Plan, courtesy of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (click for hi-res)

Read more…

24 Comments

A Photo Essay of a Tour of the Gold Line Foothill Extension

This Wednesday, Aviv Kleinman and Damien Newton of Streetsblog joined a behind-the-scenes tour of the Gold Line Foothill Extension under construction in the San Gabriel Valley. We joined Albert Ho, head of Media Relations for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, and Jeff Rowland, the Community Relations Manager for the Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture, the constructors of the project.

Jeff Rowland, the Community Relations Manager for the  Kiewit-Parsons Joint Venture, knows just about everything there is to know about the Gold Line extension, and railroad construction in general. I made sure to pick his brain with many questions throughout the day, and he was able to answer them all with facts and figures.

IMG_2309

Yours truly waiting for a train at the Monrovia Station. If there were a LCD screen showing waiting time for the next train, it would display “1273236 minutes” (until November, 2016, of course.) All photos by Aviv Kleinman/Streetsblog L.A., except where specified otherwise

It was the most comprehensive tour we could have ever imagined, and we had a long and great day on the tour. We toured the future Maintenance and Operations (M&O) facility, the flyover bridge that crosses the 210 Freeway, and many future stations and sections of track alignment. We’re splitting tour coverage into four separate posts: The first about the line in general, the second about the maintenance yard, the third about the iconic bridge, and the fourth about Transit-Oriented-Development built and planned around the line.

The Metro Gold Line is a 19.7 mile light rail line running from East Los Angeles to Pasadena via Union Station in Downtown L.A. The line’s first phase entered service in 2003, serving 21 stations. The line’s third phase, the Foothill Extension, will extend from its current terminus in East Pasadena, at Sierra Madre Villa to Azusa, serving another 6 stations over the course of 11.3 miles. The extension will serve five cities directly, and it is proposed to transform transportation and development patterns in the San Gabriel Valley. Once bounded by the distress of being caught in freeway gridlock, San Gabriel Valley residents will now have the freedom to commute by Metro rail into Downtown LA and endless locations from there by using the new Gold Line extension.

In this first installment of the series, we explore the stations, track alignment, and construction machinery and processes. Photos and renderings will be displayed in that order.

Monrovia

Artist’s rendering of the future Monrovia Station. Courtesy of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority .

Rowland explained that in the initial phase of the Gold Line construction between L.A. and Pasadena, Metro asked each municipality that would host a station to design their own ‘personalized’ station that would be an art piece portraying a theme of the municipality’s choice. Art is great, but, according to Rowland, art the size of a train station is pricey. At the price tag of $25 million each, the current stations are marvelous and magnificent, but their costs were just too high for the second phase of the line.

Read more…

21 Comments

Editorial: Why Raise Fares When Metro’s Building Even More Free Parking?

Foothill Gold Line's Azusa-Alameda Station not-so-innovative site plan - 200 more parking spaces coming on line next year. Source: Gold Line Construction Authority website

Foothill Gold Line’s Azusa-Alameda Station site plan means 200 more surface parking spaces due to open in 2015. Source: Gold Line Construction Authority website

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an editorial asking Why Raise Metro Fares While Giving Away Metro Parking? At the time, I totaled parking for Metro’s BRT and rail lines at 19,450 parking spaces. Despite Metro’s plan to increase transit fares, the agency has no plan to increase parking charges. Metro gives more than 9 out of 10 spaces away for free. I did a conservative estimate of Metro’s parking revenue potential to be at least $3.5 million per year.

Turns out that it gets worse. Or better, depending on your point of view.

Metro’s building lots and lots of lots.

There are 2,435 more Metro parking spaces under construction. When the Gold Line Foothill extension opens in 2015, Metro will break the 20,000 mark with 1,525 new parking spaces. Also in 2015, Expo phase 2 will add 580 new parking spaces. In 2019, the Crenshaw Line will add 330 new parking spaces.

Metro’s overall total rail/BRT parking spaces will climb to 21,885. Using the same very conservative assumptions, I estimate that, with the additional spaces, Metro’s parking revenue potential will be at least $4.3 million per year.

After the earlier article, via Twitter and via the Source, Metro responded with the “doesn’t go far enough” argument:

Of course, $3.5 million doesn’t cover the projected budget shortfalls that Metro is projecting and using to justify the fare increases (the shortfalls begin at $36 million in FY 2016 and then rise).

I’ve always found this sort of assertion to be disingenuous. It’s sort of like being in a boat that’s leaking in five places, and refusing to fix one hole, because it doesn’t fix all of them at once.

Read more…